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Wildflower explosion could signal bad allergy season

Posted: 7:14 PM, Mar 09, 2017
Updated: 2017-03-10 02:17:21Z

Arizona's bumper crop of wildflowers this year should signal allergy sufferers to brace for a bad season of sneezing.

Dr. Michael Saavedra, of Phoenix Allergy & Asthma, says the blooms are generally harmless, but the same wet weather that makes the flowers grow also helps the real pollen culprits: trees, weeds and grasses.

"Mesquite trees and olive trees and some of the desert weeds here are very problematic for people," Saavedra said.

Arizona's spring allergy season runs from mid-February to June.

"It gets real bad around, like, May," Chandler Menchaca said while taking a walk in Dreamy Draw Recreation Area. "I get some runny noses, some sore throats in the morning when I leave the window open."

Dr. Saavedra says the first defense is to avoid whatever causes your allergies.  Over-the-counter medicines also help many people.

"When those medications don't control the symptoms, it's a good idea for someone to visit their allergist," Dr. Saavedra said.

Traditional allergy shots can involve weekly visits for nearly a year, but people with busy schedules may want to try rush immunotherapy.

"People spend a couple blocks with us," Dr. Saavedra said.  "It allows them to skip through 90 percent of the weekly shot visits and gets someone to therapeutic doses where they are feeling better pretty quickly."

As for home remedies, Dr. Saavedra says consuming local honey has no real effect. He recommends trying a neti pot for nasal irrigation.